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“Bodegón Argentino.” Oil pastel on mylar, 18 inches by 21 inches.
“Bodegón Argentino.” Oil pastel on mylar, 18 inches by 21 inches. By Courtesy of Katherrin A. Billordo
By Katherrin A. Billordo, Contributing Writer

Referencing my family's roots, this still life depicts aspects of the typical Argentinian meals I grew up savoring. It features empanadas, a prepared mate (caffeinated, South American tea), its thermo (flask), a medium-rare steak from an asado (barbecue) topped with chimichurri sauce, a potted ceibo plant (Argentina's national flower), and alfajores (dulce de leche cookies) served on a wooden dining room table.

Asados and mate are essential elements of Argentine culture. They represent friendship, camaraderie, and life. Participating in “una ronda de mate” is a ceremonial social act. Typically only done with friends or people you want to become close to, guests sit in a circle and pass the gourd around after the cebador serves the drink. These traditions serve as celebrations of and opportunities for conversation, connection, and community.

A variety of stroke lengths, hues, and stippling techniques were used to suggest the illusion of disarray and texture. The colorful patterns on the empanada were created by repeatedly making small dots (frequently around the edges and sparingly towards the center highlights) with enough pressure to leave behind some waxy residue to mimic texture. The lighter lines around the bottom edge of the empanada are the result of digging a wooden, pointed ceramic tool into the oil pastel and scraping the waxy medium off to reveal the tinted mylar (A paper-like plastic sheet) underneath.

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